Carson Conrad makes history for his family
Indiana harness racing has deep roots in several prominent families throughout the Hoosier State, but none are more important or long lasting than the Conrad family of Harrison County.
Elmer Conrad was a Corydon farmer who began racing harness horses at county fairs and big city raceways after World War II. Elmer’s son, Charles, joined in the family effort as the horses began to take a more prominent position on the farm. Charles’ two sons, Donnie and Ronnie, grew up in the 1950s and ’60s learning horsemanship and became successful trainers and drivers. Donnie’s son, Charlie, now runs the family stable with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons, Carson and Carder.
This past week at the Jay County Fair in Portland, Carson Conrad made family history — and Indiana harness racing history — as he became the fifth generation of his family to drive in a race. Still in high school, and a basketball player too, Carson has been driving horses in workouts for several years and this summer qualified for the county fair license needed to compete in official races.
Driving the Conrad 2-year-old pacing filly Zig Zag Zoom to a second-place finish in a time of 2:02:0, Carson was warmly received by the Jay County crowd. Several veteran Hoosier drivers finished behind the young Conrad in that race.
In Hoosier Park action, the “consolation” and “final” of the Hoosier Cup were contested on July 4 with total purse money of $101,000 on the line. Hays-wood Farm of Corydon is part of the ownership group of a 3-year-old gelding Caption This who finished second in the “consolation” race, having failed to finish high enough in the elimination heats the week before to race in the final.
Caption This equaled his lifetime best time of 1:50:0 with his second-place finish, while the winner of the Hoosier Cup Final could manage only a time of 1:50:1.
Next up for Caption This is leg 3 of the Indiana Sire Stakes.
The Conrad stable also raced in Kentucky last week with two wins, a fourth and a fifth at the county fair in Lebanon. Charlie also drove horses at Lebanon for other owners, with a win, two seconds and two thirds.
At the Red Mile in Lexington, Ky., Conrad’s older pacer Bludhaven was eighth in his race while Charlie registered a third-, fourth- and eighth-place finishes for several “catch drives.”